As has become an annual tradition in Columbus, Ohio State’s football players had the opportunity to meet with representatives from a wide variety of employers on Friday night at the team’s annual job fair at Ohio Stadium.
More than 100 representatives from nearly 50 companies were on hand for Friday’s event, including ESPN, Nationwide Insurance, the Cleveland Cavaliers, the Cincinnati Reds and the Pro Football Hall of Fame. There were even live reptiles on hand courtesy of Aquascape, another one of the companies that players had the opportunity to meet with on Friday.
Arguably the most popular booth at the Ohio State football job fair. pic.twitter.com/cBBhoMELg1— Colin Hass-Hill (@chasshill) June 15, 2019
Former Ohio State running back Chris “Beanie” Wells spoke to the team prior to Friday night’s job fair.
Ohio State held its first job fair for its football team in 2013, as part of the Real Life Wednesdays program created by former coach Urban Meyer, and it has now become a staple of Ohio State’s efforts to not only help their football players become better athletes on the field, but to also set them up for success in their careers after football.
Even though Meyer is no longer the Buckeyes’ head coach, first-year head coach Ryan Day believes just as strongly in the value of fostering connections between his players and potential employers – both within and outside of Columbus – to help set them up for the future.
“Urban Meyer started this tradition seven years ago, and we’re going to keep it going and look to enhance it as we move forward,” Day said Friday night. “The thing about it is, we want to make sure guys have a career after they’re done playing. Hopefully it’s after a long career in the NFL, but whether it is or it isn’t, we want to help them secure a job.”
Ohio State’s Real Life Wednesdays program has been and continues to be a big selling point for the Buckeyes in recruiting, and Day believes events like Friday’s are a crucial piece of the commitment they make to players to help them prepare for life after football.
“It’s a big part of why some of the guys decided to come here, to Ohio State,” Day said. “We take it serious. It’s not just a recruiting pitch. We see this through, we send guys on job shadowing opportunities, we send guys on mini-internships and we follow through.”
Every player on the team was required to prepare a resume and meet with representatives from at least four businesses during Friday night’s event, but some players went above and beyond, including long snapper Liam McCullough, who was the last football player to leave the job fair as he spent time meeting with as many representatives as possible.
“This is my fifth year now doing the job fair, so every time I try to take a little something away from it but now especially being a graduate and having my degree, I’m really trying to hit this full force and trying to line some things up for after football,” said McCullough, who graduated this spring with a degree in finance.
Fellow fifth-year senior defensive tackle Davon Hamilton – who visited the WWE Performance Center with McCullough, Justin Hilliard, Shaun Wade and Nicholas Petit-Frere for a two-day externship earlier this week – said he feels fortunate to have the off-field opportunities that come with playing football at Ohio State.
“This is great for everybody,” Hamilton said. “Not too many programs get to have companies come in and want to hire you fresh out of football, so I mean, that’s awesome.”
“We want to make sure guys have a career after they’re done playing. Hopefully it’s after a long career in the NFL, but whether it is or it isn’t, we want to help them secure a job.”– Ohio State head coach Ryan Day
The Ohio State men’s basketball team also attended Friday night’s job, along with athletes from some other sports. Assistant athletic director of player development Ryan Stamper, who oversees the job fair and runs the Real Life Wednesdays program, said he would like to get even more athletes from other sports involved in the future, acknowledging that athletes from many other sports are not on campus during the summer like the football team is.
All in all, though, Stamper believes this year’s job fair was a success yet again, and he considers it to be a crucial step in the overall development of the Buckeyes’ student-athletes.
“That’s what makes the games like Penn State, when we’re down and we got to get that long drive and score a touchdown, I really believe stuff like this is why our players play so hard because they know we care about them outside of just football,” Stamper said.
You can hear more of what Day, Stamper, McCullough, Hamilton, Hilliard, Austin Mack and Jordan Fuller had to say about Friday’s job fair in the videos at the top of the page.